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If Tomorrow Doesn't Come by Jen St Jude - Review and Blog Tour

Friday, May 5, 2023

Hello and welcome to my blog for my stop on the tour for If Tomorrow Doesn't Come by Jen St Jude! It is a pleasure to welcome you here. Please do click around and read some of my other reviews. I read a lot of queer YA so you will probably find something you like here too. I liked the sound of this book so signed up immediately for the tour. I liked the book and would definitely read something else by the same author. It's a strong debut! 

So I knew right from the off that there was a lot of talk of suicide in the book, so I want to give the same trigger warning here. Suicide is a massive trigger for me, but I did know going into the book that Avery, the main character, is about to take her own life right at the beginning of the book. That meant it was okay for me to read, and not triggering, but I did find it a difficult and sad read and I would warn for this for other readers too. I have lost someone close to suicide, and suffer with depression and anxiety myself, so I empathised with Avery and felt very sad for her. I hope that if this book will be difficult for you to read that you will take care of yourself. 

So all that aside, the book. Avery is a freshman at Eaton College which is a few hours away from her home in New Hampshire. She is a soccer player and shares her room with another soccer player, Aisha, who is Nigerian. It is Avery's nineteenth birthday and she has decided to end her life. She is struggling at college, finding it hard to make friends, finding soccer hard, and feeling like she has to hide the fact that she is gay. She has failed one class and can't see a way round it. She has also fallen out with her best friend of several years, Cass, who she's in love with. Cass is also gay and has been out forever, and the two had a moment when Avery visited Cass in New York, but then everything went sour and they have barely spoken since. Avery's mum's sister also took her own life on the day Avery was born, and Avery has lived with that ever since (something I very much understand and empathised with). So Avery has written some notes (I would point out that the majority of people who die by suicide DON'T leave a note, but Avery does) and walked down to the river.

However, then she gets a phone call from Cass. She is panicking, trying to tell Avery the news. Hackers have hacked into NASA and discovered that there is an asteroid heading towards earth. It is supposedly going to hit Arizona and take out a lot of the United States, and its impact will be felt worldwide. It is going to hit in nine days and everyone is panicking. 

Avery runs back to her dorm and finds that Aisha is trying to work out how to get home to Nigeria. Cass is trying to get home to Kilkenny from NYC, so Avery wants to go there too. People are leaving Eaton College in droves. Avery and Aisha manage to get a lift to Boston with a professor, and the professor whose class Avery has failed cadges a lift too, with his dog. In Boston they manage to catch up with Cass, even though cell phone service and wifi are really patchy, and she, Avery, Aisha, Dr Talley and the dog head to Kilkenny.

Avery's parents are there along with her brother, sister in law, and nephew. They plan to build a bunker in the basement to try to survive after the asteroid has hit, so they begin collecting supplies. Avery and Cass have to work out how to be around each other again.

Interspersed with the present day are flashbacks to different times in Avery's life - realising she was in love with Cass, prom with a boy called Clayton, starting college, and more. I liked these flashbacks as they explained Avery's life and how she had got to the point of wanting to take her life. 

The book is extremely sad but very well written. I'm giving it four out of five. 

If you would like other books in a similar vein, I would recommend On the Beach by Nevil Shute and Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel 

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